SpaceX to start 2022 with another Starlink launch this week

SpaceX plans to kick off 2022 with another Starlink launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to take off on Thursday if the weather cooperates.

The mission, which SpaceX designated Starlink 4-5, will be the company’s 34th dedicated Starlink launch. SpaceX has yet to confirm the exact number of satellites on the mission.

However, previous missions have carried between 48 and 53 satellites.

The satellites will join one of the five orbital shells that SpaceX is setting up. So far, SpaceX has launched 1,944 Starlink satellites. The company’s current focus is to deploy around 4,400 satellites to complete its first five orbital shells, according to SpaceflightNow.

The longer-term goal is to launch as many as 42,000 satellites for its internet network.

SpaceX plans to land the Falcon 9 rocket on the drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” positioned in the Atlantic Ocean. On Saturday, the landing platform departed Port Canaveral to head to the landing zone.

However, this is not the only launch in early January. SpaceX is also prepping another Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff no later than January 13 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Known as the Transporter 3, the Falcon 9 is lifting off with dozens of small satellites from US and international customers. This launch will be the third dedicated rideshare launch SpaceX will complete.

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